Louise Steel

in The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199873609
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology


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Cyprus occupies a strategic position between the western Asiatic and European landmasses in the East Mediterranean. The geographical location and physical landscape had a distinct influence on the development of the island's Bronze Age societies and ensured that it played an increasingly important role in international maritime trade of the later second millennium. In antiquity the fertile Mesaoria plain, which lies between the Troodos and the Kyrenia mountain ranges, was probably covered by open cypress woodland. Despite the undoubted importance of timber, exploitation of this resource by Bronze Age communities has not been fully explored. This might be extrapolated from later sources that demonstrate religious and royal control of timber to sustain various industries—metallurgy, ceramic production, and shipbuilding. Timber is itemized among the tributes sent from the ruler of Alashiya (ancient Cyprus) to Thutmose III, which further illustrates the economic importance of this resource in antiquity.

Keywords: Cyprus; Bronze Age; societies; maritime trade; Mesaoria plain; timber; Thutmose III

Article.  6658 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History ; Greek and Roman Archaeology

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